Yes, it’s that time again! The annual all-American hoorahfest we call the Super Bowl. That Holy Grail of all things advertising – broadcast, specifically. Oh, and football of course. There is, after all, the actual game to consider, right? And, as New Englanders, you can bet we’re pretty excited to get our #12 on despite what Roger and the rest of the country thinks of him.
But back to the game that really matters to us marketers here: the Super Bowl ad competition. When all is said and done, much of the Monday morning quarterbacking will be dedicated to determining which brand got the biggest bang for their buck. And at upwards of $5 million for a thirty second spot, there’s a lot riding on the investment.
So who will the winners and losers be? And how many times have you remembered the ad, but not the brand it represented?Already, a number of brands have been working hard to cut through the clutter and enhance ROI by generating pre-game buzz about their unique approaches as well as through linked content across other, largely digital, mediums. One of these, Heinz, is even banking on the attention they’ll get from NOT running an ad during the game.
That’s right – in case you hadn’t heard, the condiment king has decided to give every salaried office employee the Monday after the game the day off. They’ve even started a petition to declare “SMunday” a national holiday and the last time I checked, their Change.org petition had surpassed 50,000 signatures towards their goal of 100,000 to submit the measure to Congress.
This tactic was almost certainly inspired by REI’s #OptOutside campaign with a goal of gaining significant PR value without actually having to invest in paid media. Similarly, Frito-Lay’s Tostitos brand is generating some PR buzz with it’s release of a limited number of “Party Bags” with a sensor that can detect the presence of alcohol on your breath to signal a warning not to drink and drive. They even offer a $10 Uber discount and can hail a nearby vehicle to provide a ride if you tap your smart phone to the bag.*
*An important side note here is the merging of technology with packaging in the consumer packaged goods category. Get ready for more of this!
For its Snickers product line, Mars brand seeks to jump on the live broadcast bandwagon with a cowboy-themed spot starring Adam Driver. The format debuted with Gwen Stefani’s Target ad during last year’s Grammy awards and was soon followed by similar ads by Oreo, Toyota and Reddi-Wip which ran during NBC’s live “Hairspray” broadcast in December. Snickers will start to build the campaign with a 36-hour live stream of content from the set prior to the spot airing.
Automaker Hyundai has a slightly different take on this approach. They’re enlisting movie director Peter Berg to produce a ninety-second spot featuring “off the field” highlights captured during the game and will air the documentary-style ad immediately following its conclusion.
And finally, leveraging what some have rumored to be a vintage publicity stunt, keep an eye out to see what first-time Bowl advertiser 84 Lumber delivers with their amended ninety-second investment. Upon review, management at Fox Sports reportedly called an out-of-bounds penalty on the top secret recruitment spot which had been filmed in Mexico and featured imagery of a wall that was apparently deemed too controversial. Their agency has adapted the spot, but interested viewers will be able to go online during the game to see the original version in its entirety.
So there’s a preview for you. While the folks over in the Heinz offices will have to wait until Tuesday, the rest of us will gather around the proverbial water cooler as usual on Monday morning to rate the 2017 Super Bowl ads (and maybe even the plays) that stood out from the ones that didn’t.
Let us know which ads you thought were the most memorable. And most importantly of course, the brands they actually represented!